||Was South Africa’s post-apartheid transition compromised by an intra-elite, socalled economic reconciliation that generally worsened poverty, unemployment and ecological degradation, while exacerbating racial, gender and geographical differences? Did the governments of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki fail to redistribute the country’s wealth? Did the transition extend South Africa’s reach into the region at the expense of the interests of other African nations and peoples?
If the answers are broadly affirmative, we may as a result now be witnessing a double-movement reaction to the truncated character of liberation. With intensified commoditization has come a vast upsurge of social unrest, in the manner Karl Polanyi might have predicted. A new popular opposition to the excesses of elite reconciliation began to emerge around 2000. By late 2005, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula recorded 5,085 protests over the prior year, of which he considered 881 to be “illegal.”